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Without good articulation, it is impossible to be a correct reader, or speaker. Those who have been accustomed to pronounce their words in a careless or slovenly manner, will find it difficult, even with their best efforts, to utter them distinctly. The organs of articulation, for the want of proper exercise, become, as it were, paralysed. The pupil, therefore, at the very commencement of his studies, should be conducted through a series of exercises calculated to strengthen the muscles of articulation, and render them obedient to the will. The best method for effecting these purposes, is to exercise the voice on the elements of speech; first, on each element separately; secondly, on various combinations.

Under the head, Practical Elocution, will be found a variety of exercises on the elements of the English language, which are calculated to develop the voice, increase its compass, and give flexibility to the muscles of articulation. In that part of this work which consists of Exercises in Reading and Declamation, most of the sounds liable to be omitted or imperfectly articulated, are represented by italic letters. Hence the reader, if he pay proper attention to the subject, will have no difficulty in correcting all ordinary defects in his utterance.

The value of vocal gymnastics cannot be duly appreciated by those who have not experienced, or witnessed, their beneficial results. But, I feel confident, the time is not far distant when these exercises will be considered, by all intelligent persons, an essential part of primary instruction.



The Elements of vocal language are the Sounds of which words are composed.

These sounds are represented by graphic characters, called letters.

The number of letters in the English language is twenty-six; but the number of elements is thirty-eight. Hence, as the number of elements exceeds the number of their literal signs, the same letter is employed,

in different situations, to represent different sounds. Thus a represents four different sounds; e, two; i, two; o, three; u, three; 2, two; and there are six sounds, each of which is represented by two letters - ou, ng, sh, wh, th in then, and th in thin. (See pag and .) If we had a perfect alphabet, every elementary sound would be represented by its appropriate character.

The elements, as well as the letters by which they are represented, are usually divided into two classes, Vowels and Consonants. A more philosophical division, however, is into three classes, Vowels, Subvowels, and Aspirates.

The vowels are pure vocal sounds; their number is fifteen.

The subvowels have a vocality, but inferior to that of the vowels; their number is fourteen.

The aspirates are made with the whispering breath, and, consequently, have no vocality; they are nine in number,

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as heard in ale, day, fate,

arm, farm,
all, law, far,
an, man, idea,
eve, see, deed,
end, met, err,
ile, fly, pine,
in, pin,
old, no, more,
lose, too, move,
on, lock, not,
tube, few, pupil,
up, her, hurt,
full, pull, wolf,
vur, now, flour,

il. eau. voûte. ecole.


ů ů ou


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French. b as heard in bow, orb, barb and in bon. d day, bid, did,

Dieu. gay, fig, gig,

gai. light, all, lull,

loup. mind, storm, maim,

mon, no, on, nine,

non. ng song, think,

agneau (nearly). r roll, war, rare,

roue TH

THen, with, V vile, live, valve,

vil. W wo, went, world,

oui (nearly). y yoke, yonder,

yacht. Z zone, his, prism,

zone. Z azure, enclosure,



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pit, up,

fame, if, drift,

femme. h

hut, hence, k kite, wreck, kick,

cor. р

рара. . s sin, nice, crisp,

scur. sh

shade, push, flushed, chaise. t tin, it, tart,

tour. th

thin, truth, months, wh

what, when, which, The reader may ask why C,J,Q, and X, have not been classed with the elements. These letters have no sounds which are not represented, in the above scheme, by other letters. C has three sounds—the sound of k, as in cat; that of s, as in cedar, and that of sh, as in ocean, J expresses the combined sounds of d and % in azure. Q has the sound of k. X, as in exercise, expresses the combined sounds of k and s; in example, the combined sounds of g and z in zone; in anxious, the combined sounds of k and sh. In Xenophon, x has the sound of z in zone.

* X in Xenophon was pronounced by the ancient Greeks as we pronounce x in exercise, thus, Ksenophon; and I am informed by Mr. Castanis, a native of the island of Scio, that the modern Greeks so pronounce it.



THE vowels are divided into Monothongs, Diphthongs, and Triphthongs.

The Monothongs consist of one kind of sound throughout their concrete movement, and consequently are simple elements; they are represented by the italics in the following words:

arm, all, an, eve, end, in, on, up, full. The Diphthongs consist of two vowel sounds, which coalesce so intimately that they appear like one uniform sound; they are represented by the italics in the following words:

ale, ile, lose, tube. The diphthong a, as well as i, has a characteristic sound for its radical, and the monothong i for its vanish. These diphthongs, under certain circumstances (for instance, when they are carried through a wide range of pitch, as an interrogation with surprise), are converted into triphthongs, the third constituent being the monothong e.

The diphthong o, as well as u, has a characteristic sound for its radical, and the subvowel w for its vanish.

The Triphthongs consist of three vowel sounds, which coalesce so intimately that they appear like one uniform sound; they are represented by the italics in the following words:

Oia, our. The first constituent of o, as well as that of ou, is a sound characteristic of this element; and the diphthong o constitutes the second and the third constituent of these triphthongs.

The following scheme is an analysis of the diphthongs and triphthongs. The reader will observe that the letters which are employed to represent the diphthongs and triphthongs, are used under the head Constituents, to represent their radicals only.

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There is one diphthong, and three triphthongs, besides those already noticed; they are represented by the italics in the following words:

oil, ay, boy, buoy. But, as all their constituents are to be found among the fifteen vowels before enumerated, they do not increase the number of the elements. This may be seen by the following analysis:

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During the utterance of a monothong, the aperture of the mouth remains stationary; but during that of a diphthong, or triphthong, the aperture is gradually diminished till the commencement of the last constituent; it then remains stationary till the sound is ended.



B CONSISTS of a vocal sound and an aspirate. The first constituent is formed with the lips closed; the second

I have said that a and i are sometimes diphthongs, and sometimes triphthongs; hence, above, they appear under both heads.

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